Verizon Wireless Palm Centro vs. 3G Apple iPhone

Verizon Wireless' launch of the Palm Centro Steve Jobs' announcement of the 3G Apple iPhone

The dueling devices both come in at an attractive price point, with Verizon offering the cobalt blue Centro for $99 after rebate with a two-year contract and the 8 GB version of the 3G iPhone hitting the $199 mark. The new iPhone's 16 GB counterpart, which will also be available in white along with the standard black, will run $299.

Both handsets have also generated a rabid fan base. Palm says it has sold one million Centros since it was first released in September, with AT&T and Sprint offering the touch-screen device before Verizon got its mitts on it. While the 3G iPhone won't hit the streets until next month, the first generation of the device has sold about 6 million units its first year in existence.

While both are bringing the touch screen devices to the masses, both are extremely different devices under the hood. Additionally, the Palm Centro is targeted at corporate users, while the iPhone runs the gamut between being designated for work and play.

The major push for the iPhone is its 3G network capabilities that enable it to transmit data faster and over a wider pipe. Early generation iPhones used the EDGE network, the latest release supports high-speed HSDPA along with Wi-Fi. The Palm Centro uses Verizon's EV-DO network for high-speed access to e-mail and the Web.

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The next-generation iPhone also adds in GPS functionality, enterprise support and support for third-party applications.

Navigation also comes into play on the Centro, which features built-in Google Maps to let users receive quick directions, perform local searches and view moveable and scalable maps. The Google Maps feature also offers satellite imagery and traffic updates, along with letting users map a contact's address directly from the contact application by hitting the "maps" button.

On the mobile e-mail side, the new iPhone will feature iPhone Software 2.0, which will enable users to access Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for push e-mail, calendaring and contacts, a feature many chided Apple for not including in first-generation iPhones. It also supports Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as PDFs and JPEGs. And now iWork attachments can be viewed as they were designed.

The Centro, however, offers access to VersaMail 4.0 with built-in Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for Microsoft Direct Push Technology, which users can link directly to their Outlook e-mail accounts, calendars and contacts. Verizon also offers Centro users Wireless Sync, the carrier's own e-mail solution, which offers access to corporate Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Notes and IBM Lotus Domino and personal POP3 and IMAP accounts.

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In Apple's favor, iPhone 2.0 users can also use MobileMe, a wireless syncing service that lets users update information across multiple devices if they change one. For example, if an iPhone user changed a contact number on the iPhone, the system will update that information over the air to the user's other accounts and devices.

For Web browsing, the iPhone uses Safari, while the Palm Centro runs Blazer as its browser.

Where the Apple iPhone takes the cake is in the music player category. The device uses iTunes and basically serves as an iPod with a phone and access to some applications. The Palm Centro lags a bit behind with multimedia function, using Pocket Tunes Deluxe for a media player.

The sizes of the device are also relatively close. The 3G iPhone measures 4.5 inches high, 2.4 inches wide and 0.48 inches deep and weighs in at 4.7 ounces. Palm's Centro for Verizon clocks in a tad more compact, though a little thicker, measuring 4.2 inches high, 2.1 inches wide and 0.7 inches deep. The Centro weighs 4.2 ounces with the battery.

Both feature a camera, with the iPhone offering 2 megapixels and the Palm Centro coming in with 1.3 megapixels and offering up two times zoom.

As for screens, the iPhone boasts a hearty 3.5-inch widescreen touch screen display with 480 pixel by 320 pixel resolution. The Centro houses a 2.2-inch color TFT touch screen with 320 pixel by 320 pixel resolution.

The Centro also features a full QWERTY keyboard and Bluetooth support. It is based on Palm OS 5.4.9. For memory, the Palm Centro has 64 MB internal memory which is expandable to 4 GB with a microSD slot. The iPhone's memory speaks for itself, with the new models offering 8 GB and 16 GB of memory. The iPhone, which also offers Bluetooth, runs OS X.

Lastly, while Verizon is the latest to offer the Palm Centro on its network, other carriers like AT&T and Sprint have Centro models available, along with other worldwide carriers. With the iPhone, AT&T is the only carrier choice for the foreseeable future.